Sage Vegan Bistro takes meals to a higher level

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Here’s a sentence this writer never thought he’d say when he was a kid: ‘the brussels sprouts (at Sage) are so good, you’ll consider ordering a second portion.’ There isn’t a potato chip in the world that tastes as good as the fried sprouts served up at this vegan gem of a place, regardless of how much you love potato chips.

We know, truly we do, that such a claim sounds ludicrous. But long gone are the days when brussels sprouts would be served exclusively during the holidays, boiled to death until all that’s left is a soggy ball of green stink. Rather, Sage fries them to a blackened crisp and adds lime, salt, and a habanero cream cheese. The cheese sauce (like everything at Sage, is vegan) adds a nice bite when dipping, but it’s also not necessary; the sprouts taste amazing by themselves. The lime adds a luscious, welcome tang, resulting in a dish that has defied the odds, and decades of bad press, to become an absolute fave.

We also went for the California avocado pesto burger, and that was also very good. There tends to be two general varieties of vegetarian / vegan burgers: those that try to fake the taste and texture of meat, and those that don’t. As a non-vegetarian who enjoys vegetarian food on occasion, this writer prefers the latter (let vegetables, rice, beans, etc. taste like what they are), but totally understands people who have cut meat out of their diet and want a satisfying replacement.

This “burger” is in fact a patty of tempeh, which is nutty and delicious, with a nice roasted flavor. It’s not meaty at all, and that’s fine with us. It’s served on a whole-wheat, bistro bun which is light yet firm, with avocado, tomato, red onion, arugula, garlic aioli and pesto. It all makes for a vibrant and very filling sandwich, and at no point did this carnivore yearn for meat.

The sandwiches come with a choice of fries, mixed green salad, house-made tortilla chips, or German potato salad. We opted for the potato salad, which may have been our only mistake. It’s OK, not terrible, but it’s essentially cold mashed potatoes with some herbs. It’s not mayonnaise-y or oily at all, but rather a bit dry and powdery. That, however, is a small complaint.

Overall, the food we ordered at Sage was excellent. The outdoor eating area is a pleasant, shaded place to enjoy a meal on a very warm day (or, as the heat lamps would suggest, a cooler day, too), and the staff is incredibly helpful. We’ll be going back soon.

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